2020 Travel Synopsis

 2020 Travel Synopsis 

While 2020 of course was a different year than most (I feel like this doesn’t even need stating), I was lucky to be able to still visit a lot of different places. Driving definitely was the mode of transportation for most of my trips this year, but it really made me appreciate the beauty that is within my own state. 

All destinations that  I have made posts about will be hyperlinked to that post to get more details about the place J

*Places Listed (in order) 

Tucson, Arizona {Saguaro National Park}Zion and Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Laredo, TexasColorado Springs, Colorado 
South Padre Island, Texas Albuquerque, New Mexico 
Corpus Christi, TexasFalls Church, Virginia 
Austin, Texas {Inks Lake and Pedernales Falls State Parks}Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee 
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas Lewiston, Idaho & Glacier National Park, Montana
San Antonio, Texas {Garner and Lost Maples State Parks}Rockport, Texas 
  1. Tucson, Arizona 

Pre-Covid, way back in January of this year I took a solo overnight trip to Tucson, Arizona. Saguaro National Parkis about 30 minutes from the airport, and I had been wanting to visit.  I spent the afternoon at both Saguaro East and Saguaro West admiring the massive cacti. I had never seen such large, sprawling cacti before. Before flying out the next day I walked around Sabino Canyon, and really enjoyed it. I actually almost liked this state park more than Saguaro National Park. 

  • Laredo, Texas

January of 2020, even February (or anything pre-covid for that matter) feels like eons ago. We spent it in Laredo, Texas at my husband’s friend’s house. I was actually sick at this point so I didn’t do much. We did go for a nice walk at the Lake Casa Blanca International State Park  and had breakfast at Marla Restaurant.

For the 3rd of July, I took a solo day trip down to South Padre Island. I didn’t know what to expect, as we have decent beaches in Corpus Christ, but the sand was whiter and the water a more clear blue than in Corpus. The town itself is also beach-centered, which makes it feel more like vacation. I lounged beach access point #23, which was tucked away into a street so a little bit less crowded than the other beach access points. 

South Padre Island

Since we live only an hour away from Corpus and its beaches, I spent many summer days here. Most the time I just went by myself since my husband wasn’t allowed to go to beaches for most of the year. Whitecap Beach and the Michael J. Ellis Seawall were my go-tos. 

  • Austin, Texas

I made two trips to Austin in 2020, one with a small group of friends (and my brothers) for a bachelorette type weekend, and the other to dog watch and visit some state parks. For my bachelorette weekend, we had brunch at the ever-popular Irene’s , hiked at the Bull Creek entrance to the greenbelt, and hit up sixth street bars that night with my younger brother. 

In October, I dog-sat for my aunt and visited Inks Lake State Parkthe Turkey Creek Trail, and Pedernales Falls State Park. I went on a massive Trader Joe’s shopping trip (we don’t have them in Kingsville), went on lots of walks, and saw my mom and brother. It was a fantastic weekend. 

I visited DFW just once this year, partially due to covid and partially due to the fact that the drive is just so dang far from Kingsville. My best friends and I had dinner at The Rustic, walked around Lakeside Park, and had a good time just hanging out. 

 Garner State Park, Lost Maples State Park, Pedernales Falls State Park, Guadalupe River 

I was able to visit San Antonio twice this year, once with coworkers and another time with my husband.

Two coworkers and I spent two nights at a Wyndham hotel on the waterway. We floated the Guadalupe River and had a great time just relaxing and getting away from work. We had some delicious breakfast tacos from The Original Blanco Café.

In early November, my husband and I spent two nights in the Tru Hotel by SeaWorld so that we could go to Pedernales Falls and Garner State Park.  We really enjoyed Garner and were amazed at how pristine the Frio River water was. We made a pit stop in Castroville on the way out to Garner and were pleasantly surprised by how cute this town was. Magnolia Filling Station had great coffee and Haby’s Bakery had cheap and delicious pastries. 

In early December I went on an overnight camping trip with my brother and his girlfriend to Garner and Lost Maples State Park. We stopped in Utopia at Postal Brews, an adorable coffee shop, on the way over to Lost Maples. For a mountain feel without driving to west Texas, Garner and Lost Maples are the ways to go. 

My husband and I had a four night honeymoon right before covid hit. We stayed two nights in this tiny home in Zion National Park, one night in Tropic, Utah, and one night in St. George, Utah. In Zion we hiked the narrows and Angel’s Landing. Then we went over to Bryce Canyon for a day and a half. Read more about it here.

My first airplane flight post-covid was to Denver to spend four nights in Colorado Springs with one of my best friends. We enjoyed hiking in the North Cheyenne Cañon ParkRed Rock Canyon Open SpaceAustin Bluffs Open SpaceGarden of the Gods, and the Pikes Peak forest area. You can read about the hiking in detail here. It was a great trip and felt pretty safe and socially distanced. 

In September I flew to Albuquerque to visit one of my best friends from nursing school. We had a great time just seeing each other, but also hiking in the Sandias mountains, the Cibola National Forest and the Santa Fe National Forest. My favorite hike was the Cave Creek trail in the Santa Fe National Forest. The trail itself was so peaceful and then the caves were very cool. We ate at the Church Street Café in downtown Albuquerque, which had excellent peach margaritas. 

Right after Christmas, my husband and I spent three days with his family in Falls Church, Virginia. We walked around the Washington Monument, hiked Old Rag in Shenandoah National Park, and visited the raging Great Falls Park.

My dad and I visited the Great Smoky Mountains in late October when the leaves where fully turned. The fall is such a gorgeous time to visit since the weather is cooler, the trees are a rainbow of color, and (sometimes) trails are not as crowded as the summer months. We really liked Clingman’s Dome and the Laurel Falls trails. We saw a bear on our very first day! We stayed in the same VRBO that I visited in 2019-a cute chalet with a mountain-view balcony. 

Right before Christmas, my husband and I went to a good friend’s wedding in Lewiston, Idaho. The town sits right along the Snake and Columbia River. We enjoyed the wedding of course, and walking along the river. 

We then drove 6 hours into Glacier National Park, about 30 minutes outside of Kalispell, Montana. This park is absolutely stunning, and we only saw such a small portion of it due to limited time and limited visibility. I had never seen so much snow before in my life and was mesmerized by the flocked trees, snow banks, and frozen lakes. We did some hiking to Fish Lake and Johns Lake, and a little bit of cross country skiing. 

My husband and I spent a quick afternoon exploring Goose Island State Park and South Austin Street in Rockport, Texas. My favorite part was the Main Street Coffee House.  It had actually just opened on the day we visited. The coffee house is literally a house and it felt so cozy. The owner was very kind and my latte was delicious as well! 

In 2019 I believe I ranked the places I visited from my least to most favorite. However, this year I really did appreciate each and every place I was lucky enough to travel to. I always am grateful for being able to travel, but this year especially. I am thankful to have had a safe, healthy year when so many haven’t. Here’s to a better 2021! 

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